The New Angelina Jolie Flops While ‘Spiral,’ The Latest Saw Sequel, Is Tops With $8.7 Million Debut
Even as the past year has served up more than its share of real-life terrors, it turns out that die-hard horror fans can still be counted on to turn out for the latest cinematic fright-fest—even if there’s an A-list movie star appearing in the theater next door. Exhibit A: Spiral, the newest chapter in the long-running Saw franchise, bowed at No. 1 at the North American box office over the weekend with an $8.7 million haul, trouncing the high-profile debut of Angelina Jolie’s survival thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead. While Spiral does feature a couple of bold-faced names of its own (namely, Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson), it’s always been the blood-soaked brand itself that’s been the big draw. Even squeamish critics, who gave the film a 39% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, couldn’t convince gore-hounds to stay away.

The ninth chapter in the splatter saga—a saga which kicked off all the way back in 2004 and has collectively grossed just shy of $1 billion—scared up a solid $3,103 per-screen average in 2,811 theaters in its debut frame. And while Spiral had the weakest first-weekend tally in the series to date (the previous low-mark was Jigsaw’s $16.6 million bow in 2017), its numbers were, no doubt, impacted by the fact that most theaters in North America are still operating at reduced capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, let’s give credit where it’s due: not only did the R-rated Lionsgate chiller easily win the weekend, it did so by a far larger margin than many expected. Spiral has not yet opened internationally.

In the runner-up spot was last week’s champ, Jason Statham’s Wrath of Man. The United Artists’ action-thriller added $3.7 million at the domestic box office, which represented a -55% drop-off from the previous session. The R-rated film punched up a $1,224 per-screen average in 3,007 theaters. Its two-week domestic total now stands at $14.6 million. The film has fared far better overseas, where it has pulled in $41.4 million so far, bringing its combined worldwide gross to $56 million.

In third place was Angelina Jolie’s new survival thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead, which debuted with an anemic $2.8 million. The Warner Bros. film about a smoke-jumper (Jolie) and a teenager who are on the run from a pair of bad guys eked out an $878 per-screen average in 3,188 theaters. And while it’s tempting to blame the film’s poor performance on the fact that it aired simultaneously on the HBO Max streaming platform, that hasn’t stopped other Warners’ films with the same roll-out blueprint (such Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong) from luring audiences to theaters. Plus, the film also landed with a whimper abroad, where it added just $1.2 million in 33 countries, bringing its sad-trombone worldwide tally to $4 million.

In fourth place was FUNimation Entertainment’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, which snagged just under $1.8 million in its fourth weekend in North America. The R-rated anime adventure slipped -42% from the previous frame and managed a $917 per-screen average in 1,930 theaters. The film has cleaned up abroad, where its $395.7 million total dwarfs its $41.9 million domestic tally. Its cumulative worldwide gross to date now stands at $437.6 million, which makes it the highest-grossing anime film of all time.

Rounding out the Top Five again was Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. In its eleventh week, the PG-rated computer-animated adventure padded its take with $1.7 million domestically. Despite also being available on the Disney+ streaming platform for a $30 fee, the film fell off just -10.5% from the previous weekend and had a $751 per-screen average in 2,285 theaters, bringing its domestic box-office total to $46.1 million. Overseas, Raya has racked up $61.7 million to date, pushing its current worldwide total to $107.8 million.

Of note outside of the Top 5 were three other rookies. In eighth place was Roadside Attractions’ PG-rated romance Finding You, which tells the story of an actor and a violinist who fall for each other in coastal Ireland. The film debuted to $954,297 in North America, earning a $727 per-screen average in 727 theaters (It has not opened internationally yet). Just below, in ninth place, was Focus Features’ R-rated thriller Profile, which traces a British journalist out to expose a terrorist recruiter. The film earned $670,000 in 2,033 theaters, which translates to a $329 per-screen average (It also has not opened internationally).

Finally, there was Zack Snyder’s highly-anticipated Las Vegas zombie epic Army of the Dead, which got a small theatrical release a week ahead of its bow on Netflix. And while the streamer does not make its box-office numbers public, industry estimates put its opening gross at approximately $800,000 in 430 theaters.